A Harvard historian and a former congressman among individuals who resign from UCLA alumni board after learning organization is asking students to inform on professors
A former congressman, a Harvard historian, and a retired UCLA professor have quit the advisory board of a conservative alumni group at the University of California, Los Angeles, after learning it is offering students money to supply tapes and notes exposing professors who allegedly express left-wing political views.
Former Rep. James Rogan, a Republican who served two terms, sent an e-mail Wednesday to Andrew Jones, head of the Bruin Alumni Association, saying he didn't want his name connected to the group.
The organization, which has no formal connection to UCLA, is offering students up to $100 (â‚¬82) to record professors in their classrooms in hopes of revealing their political views. Jones said one student has taken up the offer so far.
"I am uncomfortable to say the least with this tactic," Rogan wrote in his e-mail. "It places students in jeopardy of violating myriad regulations and laws."
Rogan said he decided to be on the group's advisory board because he believed he would mentor Republican students and student groups. He said he did not recall talking about any faculty monitoring.
His resignation follows those of Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom and UCLA professor emeritus Jascha Kessler, who both quit the board once they learned of the group's activities.
The year-old Bruin Alumni Association said on its Web site says it is concerned about professors who use lecture time to press positions against President George W. Bush, the military and multinational corporations, among other things. The site includes a list of what the group calls the college's 30 most radical professors.
Advisory board member Shawn Steel, a lawyer who recently served as chairman of the California Republican Party, said he believes recording professors is a good idea, adding it could "expose the nasty secrets of the university."
"Most parents assume students get a square education at a public university, when in fact, there is no real intellectual diversity," Steel said. "If a student says anything positive about Bush, he'll get bashed."
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